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HP Latex and sticker printing

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by DigiDude, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    So tell me are you making your own output profiles and setting GCR for maximum usage of the light inks?

    Seems to be what is common about all the threads your talking about. Those of us with color management and making our own profiles knowledge don't seem to have much of an issue with grain. Yes there is some there that can't be avoided due to the dot size but most of the photos I see showing lots of graininess are a result of poor color management or maybe I should say color management meant for large banners and signs.

    This photo shows about what you can expect with 12pass, black start at 30 and GCR at 100. For even less grainy look I have one that I use at 18pass with black start at 30 and GCR at 60 but this job didn't need that, but for small decals that one would be the one I use.
     

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  2. astraios

    astraios Member

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    Totally agree with this. Color management and right settings are important and will improve things compare to default settings but like you said there is some level of graininess that can't be avoided. And for those users (like TomK) which are competing in small sticker/decals segment this "small level" this is probably still unacceptable as they have competitors (like Mule) which produce higher level quality. Latex graininess won't bother 95% of small sticker/decals customers but there is certainly a difference compared to some other solutions.

    So my opinion is that HP 3xx is great printer for typical sign shop and for lot of different applications, but if you specialize in small sticker/decals you should consider researching other machines.
     
  3. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Can you post some sample prints with lighter colors?
     
  4. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Well said for sure!
     
  5. visualeyez

    visualeyez Member

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    You might be using some horrible color profile in your design software. Try converting your color profile to RGB, and Adobe 1998 in particular. It sounds old, but was created to have the largest color gamut available for CMYK printing. Also make sure that your RIP software does not over-ride the embedded color profile.
    Try using a canned generic profile like Generec Self-Adhesive Vinyl. This will make sure not to lay down extra OP ink, and should provide decent results without much testing.
    I would assume that you might be in a high humidity location which is causing the problems. Run a dehumidifier and a heater near your media at all times, and keep all rolls in plastics bags.

    I run my latex machine on the oregon coast with zero heating at night (40 degrees) and then fire it up in the morning and can print 600dpi magazine quality banners, stickers, canvas, and posters all day long at about 60 degrees.

    Best guess, print profile supplied by media/ink vendor lays down 200% more OP than needed, and it blurs before hitting the 240 curing point. Grimco????
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    Makes it real confusing when one can't differentiate between between Media Preset and Profile.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  7. spooledUP7

    spooledUP7 Member

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    I print small decals all the time with my HP260 and it really boils down to profile/presets and selecting the best color for the job. I have found the HP Permanent Gloss Vinyl profile to work on 90% of the media. I use Flexi Sign for my rip which has less material profiles than Onyx, and so as a starting point I use the HP profile and then adjust the presets to fit my needs.

    Like others have mentioned, in Flexi you can map specific spot colors within the preset, meaning you can take a spot color like Pantone 021C and adjust the CMYK value until you get the result you want. You can either select from a swatch finder or make your own input values. I use this for getting the best blacks.

    Head Passes does improve grain but it needs to be 16 passes or higher before you start to see any changes. 8-12 passes all seem to net similar results as far as grain goes, but banding is drastically different between these pass values.

    The truth is that some colors print better than others and that is why I always print a spot color chart for every profile preset. Sometimes you can shift one shade over and get a much more solid output but you wouldn't know this unless you had a printed color chart.

    I tried to find the link to the Pantone Spot Color chart but I couldn't find it quickly so I've added the link to the Pantone Process Color chart which looks the same. I prefer using the Pantone Spot color book for mapping purposes and ease of customer file management. I recommend either making a pantone spot color chart or searching the web. It's out there. You can tell it's a spot color chart by selecting a color and verifying the color name. If it reads as a CMYK value then it is not a spot color.

    Also, if your software can do it (flexi can) then create a color chart based on your default color tables. Sometimes you can get lucky with the colors you already have.

    http://andvel.bg/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/PANTONE-Process-Color.pdf
     
  8. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

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    just buy an eco solevent printer and be done with it...i print thousands of decals every month...3" x 3" and below and have crisp and clear prints all day long...we are using a mutoh
     
  9. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    Lucky you. With the HP260 you can set your light ink curves when you setup your linearization. For L360 and beyond users we can't do that. The best we can do is control GCR in the output profile but we are still limited by HP's baked in light ink curves.

    Which brings up the question which I have thought about from time to time, is there any difference in the Media Preset categories in regards to light ink curves or are they all the same. I can not recall doing a specific test for that so has anyone else tested that. I did do a test at one time to see if I could detect any difference in the media categories which I could not find any difference except some default things like vacuum. Made me always wonder why they have the different categories. But it would be a perfect vehicle to use different baked in light ink curves. Now that I am thinking about this again I think I am going to make a Cyan and a Magenta ramp and test the same media with different categories using the same Preset settings to see if I can tell any difference as to where the light inks blend with regular inks.
     
  10. TomK

    TomK Member

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    What Mutoh are you running? Can you post some examples of your output?
     
  11. AF

    AF Active Member

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    It boils down to how much ink the media can hold. Double coated canvas can take 400% ink limit which allows you to use tons of light inks for very smooth colors. Typical economic-vinyls can take a max of 160% which results in more grain. Using more expensive vinyl with higher ink tolerance and lots of optical brightener is the only solution for small decals that need to be less grainy.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. spooledUP7

    spooledUP7 Member

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    I have the same thing.
     
  13. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    You should clarify this. It gives the wrong impression to say lots. There is a sweet spot. Too much and you get no dot gain, showing the almost exact 12-picoliter dot, which would look grainy. Too little and you will get coalescing which will not look as smooth as possible either.
     
  14. afinn35

    afinn35 New Member

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    I’ve been running an HP310 for 3.5 years and love it. Easy to use low maintenance and great quality. Rich colors. Wouldn’t hesitate to buy another in the future.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    Did the preset category test with a Cyan and a Magenta ramp, with all color management turned off on the RIP. No apparent difference in the light ink curve split.

    What did show a difference was ink density. Knowing what I do to minimize apparent graininess I would think 18 pass at maybe 150 ink density and then do linearization and ink limiting on the RIP would be the best approach. This would take some optimizer level testing on your choice of media first to find the sweet spot. 18 pass at 120 ink density might also be fine. Sometime when I have more time I am going to make a CMY ramp and really test this trying to find the best media preset setting to minimize apparent graininess. Then or course an output profile with GCR set to minimize the use of black would need to be created.
     
  16. visualeyez

    visualeyez Member

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    Dude, I can print money quality with my latex 110 (the cheapest and oldest) latex printer.
    HP Latex 110... Awesome!

    I can get these results with a canned profile for paper, or same results telling the machine default vinyl is loaded.

    I think that you are saving your files with some crappy RGB (NOT adobe 1998) color profile in your editing software and then loading them into your printer software with a default setting of CMYK. This will convert all of the color numbers wrong, inevitability laying down enough ink to pool up and look grainy.

    Try embedding Pantone colors into your files, and adjust the settings in your RIP to not override the document color profiles.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  17. usdsoccer

    usdsoccer New Member

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    Spot on. If you want the sharp quality to compete with someone like Mule, latex isn't gonna cut it. HP Latex is like watching standard definition TV...it was/is good until you see HD TV. Get yourself a printer with a smaller picoliter drop size if you want to do stickers/decals/small type.
     
  18. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Any suggestions on a good printer with good quality to compete with stickermule?

    Right now I'm doing aqueous, vinyl, and using UV laminate on all of our stickers.

    Love the Epson 80600 but don't need 64" since I use my hp latex for any sign stuff.
     
  19. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    We got an Epson 60600 and at higher pass rates it is better quality than HP latex.
    Although we printed plenty of quality critical jobs on our 360s at 18 pass and they turned out quite acceptable.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. VanderJ

    VanderJ Merchant Member - Printer Parts and Sevice

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    New - You can't go wrong with a Mutoh VJ628 24" Printer and I assume you have a cutter already. It has the same print head as the bigger models so quality is top notch. If you aren't going to laminate, a Mimaki CJV150-75 30" printer/cutter will have a better work flow seeing as you can just tell it to print and cut right after.

    Used - The Roland SP-300V or SP-300i are great machines for stickers and they are 30" wide. The i series is newer. Also, any Mutoh Valuejet that is in good shape will give you good results.
     
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